Why are E-pass holder foreigners more valuable than Singaporean citizens?

From: Wiki Temasek <wikitemasek@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 10:24 PM
Subject: Why are E-pass holder foreigners more valuable than Singaporean citizens?
To: ICA_Feedback@ica.gov.sg, lee_hsien_loong@pmo.gov.sg, tanchuanjin@mom.gov.sg, amy_khor@mom.gov.sg, hawazi@mom.gov.sg, yishyan@mnd.gov.sg, maliki_osman@mnd.gov.sg, khawbw@mnd.gov.sg, heng_chee_how@pmo.gov.sg

Dear ICA

Could you explain the following:

Spouse to apply for
Employment
Foreign Spouse of a Singaporean citizen Foreign Spouse of an E-pass holder foreigner
Given Long Term Visitor Pass(LTVP) only,
no employment allowed
Dependent Pass only,
no employment allowed
Convert to LTVP+
Requirements:
1) 3 year marriage
2) a Singaporean child
Apply for Letter of Consent from MOM
Requirements:
None
Why is the PAP government encouraging Singaporeans with foreign spouses to emigrate out of Singapore if they do not wish to have a child? Wouldn’t E-pass holder foreigners abuse the system through false marriage and apply employment for their “spouses” too, if that is going to be your justification why so?
Lastly, why are E-pass holder foreigners more valuable than Singaporean citizens?
Thank you
Wikitemasek.org

Letter to the boss

Dear V

Thank you for allowing me to stay for the company dinner, but I am writing to you my real reason for leaving. I was happy with the managers that I have, they had been very understanding and I learned a great deal from them. Unfortunately, things started to change from August onwards. The number of project engineers then was 5, and when 1 left in August, we started to feel the increase in workload. I thought that a new hire was going to come in, as we beared with it. It was bad then, and I started to get satisfactory ratings in my project completion appraisal from the customers. Due to the number of projects, I was late for meetings frequently and became often absent-minded and not as detailed.

Then 1 left in November, which I believe is due to the increasing workload as well, and from thatday onwards, even our managers can feel the pressure. I was working nearly every night past 8pm and am always late for my 7pm night classes – my classmates can vouch for that. The weekends are always occupied at the sites, and mind you we are not paid overtime for these work after office hours. The manager of my technicians can tell me his technicians don’t like to work on weekends and I stopped short of blasting him if I liked it. I tried to tendered my resignation in November becaue I received a better offer elsewhere, but I stayed because of my managers and not because I was comfortable where I was then. I made a counter proposal to increase my salary by another $600 to you for the increased workload, but apparently you turned it down. Just like how you dont want to do extra work without charging a VO to your clients, you shouldn’t expect your employees to take in more responsibilities and jobscope for the same time.

Also I noticed almost everyone got a $100 pay increase in the company. This is unacceptable because the inflaton for last year was 4.6% An average engineer paid $2.7k a month is only getting a -0.9% nominal wage growth after factoring in inflation. The worst part is you don’t even pay AWS, and an immediate question come to my mind that if you are able to compete for talents with other companies in the market. That question is of course redundant because you are able to get foreign engineers easily, who are earning a premium salary relative to what they are getting in their home country.

The morale of the engineers is very poor and citing what Js said when he left: the atmosphere is very negative indeed. Now that you are left with 2 project engineers, I notice that you are getting the specialists to handle new projects. Seriously, if you don’t think project management is a skill, you can even get the sales to handle the projects. I have talked to some specialists and they are saying they are uncomfortable with the increase in jobscope.

I notice that you have a very wrong understanding of productivity. You always say “deliver with efficiency and productivity”, but you don’t understand that productivity is not doing more work with lesser salaries and poorer quality. Below is a graph that best explain the situation:

Screenshot_2013-02-24-16-01-36

The decreasing curve is the Quality versus Amount of Time worked, quality of work will decrease with the increase in time spent on work. The climbing curve is the Amount of Resources versus Work Done, increasing salaries and manpower will increase the amount of work done. What you should be looking for is the point the 2 curves intersect. That is the right amount of salaries with the right number of manpower for the right quality at the right costs. Where you are right now is to lower resources and demanding higher quality, which is unrealistic. As a business leader, the only way you can earn more is to capitalize on right balance. We are seeing a high turnover because too few resources are allocated. The company can never expand so long this fundamental is not right.

I hope you reflect upon one last issue: surrounding yourself with yes-men without a culture of fair and balanced criticisms would not improve the company. Employees dare not openly express their dissatisfaction because they are afraid of backlash. The company policies ended up out of touch with the ground. There ought to be more autonomy and trust into the managers and even the employees.

All the best, thank you.

2012 and beyond: Worsening times for Singaporeans

2012 has turned out to be one of the worst years for the poor and middle class in Singapore. In a recent household income survey conducted by the Department of Statistics, real income growth for the bottom 10% income earners see a -1.5% real income growth. This is the 12th year Singapore’s lowest rung have saw dipping income growth. The key reason behind such trend is inflation, propped up mainly by the increase in population which ironically have brought the city-state record GDP growth over the past decade. It has become apparent that economic growth have only beneficed the rich, with a notable 4.6% increase in real income growth in 2012.

Anedoctally, more elderly and handicapped(the unemployed class below the 10% income earners) are taking to the streets surviving on the charity of the better-off commoners on the street. Old people are often seen touting for tissue papers and those on wheelchairs would be playing instruments basking for a living. Such social phenomenons are not even seen in equivalent economies like Taiwan, Hongkong and Malaysia. The thriving entrepot which serves as a gateway to many international routes just couldn’t see wealth trickle down, despite the PAP government’s claim that “nobody is left behind”.

From the PAP government’s point of view, they do not see the widening income gap as a worrying social trend because they have set in place draconian laws to arrest anyone who “upset racial and social peace”. The Internal Security Act allows the PAP government to detain anyone without trial for an indefinite period. Defamation lawsuits are commonly used by the leaders in power to silence critics. Just barely a year after a watershed election in which the Prime Minister apologized and promised “change”, an editor from popular social-civic news site Temasek Review Emeritus, was sued by the Prime Minister and his brother for allegations of nepotism. Another popular news site, The Online Citizen, was also gazzetted and just recently, the Minister of Manpower sent a letter of demand to social activist, Dr Vincent Wijeysingha, and the Minister of Law sent a letter of demand to another popular news site, The Real Singapore. Through the senior counsels engaged by the most well-paid Ministers in the world, the PAP have never once lose a defamation suit in Singapore Court. Foreign presses like the Far Eastern Economic Review under the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune were also sued and made to pay compensation to the PAP leaders amounting to millions. With such fear-mongering antics, the PAP weakened the local opposition parties and kept themselves in power for the past 48 years since Independence. As such, unlike other countries, a rising income gap will not result in political turnmoils like a coup or assasination. Henceforth, the PAP government ignores pleas by both the opposition parties and people to distribute wealth.

A population White Paper was recently endorsed by the Parliament by 77 to 13 votes. All 77 ayes were from the PAP MPs, who take up 80 seats in Parliament. The population White Paper intends to increase Singapore’s population further to 6 million by 2020, with foreigners forming the core of the country’s workforce. Currently there are 2 million foreigners, or 38% of the total population, living in Singapore on a permanent basis. This ratio is poised to increase to 45% by 2020 should the PAP bulldozed their way into 2020. Infrastructures are already seeing signs of buckling with the MRT trains seeing a series of breakdowns for the first time in 2012 since its inception some 25 years ago. Subsidized university places have also gone largely to Permanent Residents and foreign students, and foreign students are often offered comprehensive scholarships without any bond. Singaporenstudents especially those graduated from the Polytechnics are discriminated in local universities despite having the males being forced to serve National Service. With the foreign labor influx, businesses and employers get to enjoy an international buffet of labor market. The loose labor market resulted in salary depression and lowering productivity as Singapore employers become addicted to cheap foreign labor to keep their businesses profitable. Jobs from all walks of life have been dominated by foreigners, which have resulted in many Singaporeans turning to some form of self-employment like driving taxis, selling insurance, selling credit card memberships or even selling tissue papers. Singaporean employees are stereotyped as demanding, lazy and unqualified by employers and even the PAP leaders. Former Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said: “Singaporeans are falling behind because the spurs are not stuck into the hide”.

Aside from facing the squeeze everywhere and having lesser employment opportunities, the influx of foregners have also resulted in a spike in inflation. Public housing have seen some 8% year-to-year growth every year for the past decade, pricing many young Singaporeans out of home ownership. The PAP government profit off newly-built government housing by pegging the price to the resale market. A 4 room Build-to-order(BTO) flat in Punggol cost $280K during 2011, just a year in the same precint, the BTO unit cost $300K. Such unethical practice by the PAP goes unchecked because they refuse to declare the breakdown of the public housing construction costs. Land costs, which is highly suspected as the major component in propping up BTO prices, is covered up and not declared despite many calls for accountabiity and transparency. Interestingly, the PAP government managed to put themselves as one of the cleanest government in the Corruption Index. The lack of transparency and accountability is largely fueled by the citizens’ blind trust in the PAP government. The national reserves is unknown even to the elected President, and the PAP is able to committ any billion of loan to any organization without the Parliament’s approval.

Living under an elitist uncaring government is bad, but the real problem facing Singaporeans is their inability to change. More than 60% of the citizens voted for the PAP government in the recent election, and it is unlikely the PAP will be put out of power by 2016. There are too many naive Singaporeans who still believe in the PAP government because of their upbringing in a propagandized environment. The PAP control the textbooks and wroe the history of Singapore themselves. A good example is the origin of Singapore. It is often misquoted by PAP supporters that the PAP government brought Singapore to first world from third world. Back before there is PAP or before Singapore gained Independence, Singapore was already a thriving entreport with the busiest port, sitting in the centre of most international sea routes, Singapore, like Hongkong, was already a gateway between the West and East. There were infrastructures like roads, airports and even high-rise buildings(seen in Balestier Road and Anson Road) then before the PAP came to power. Some PAP supporters gone to the extent of claiming that the PAP government invented the HDB and MRT. Do not be surprised if they say Lee Kuan Yew invented the wheel and Democracy. Such absurdity and insolence is mainly the fault of the PAP-controlled and only mainstream media. The Straits Times have “opinion editors” like Chua Mui Hoong and even the editor Warren Fernandez himself, often weigh in to contentious national issues like CPF Life and the Population in a bid to propagandized the public. The PAP also kept up with times, like making a movie to support National Service in a bid to shore up morale for Singaporean soldiers who do not see a purpose of serving NS. An online internet bridgade was also created to “neutralize and correct fallacious views” in the internet. The PAP are very focus on keepng themselves in power, to the extent of penalizing and intimidating voters, so much so that real issues on the grounds are ignored and “managed” instead of finding real solutions.

If you are rich, congratulations, Singapore is your playground. If you are middle class, you can choose to get out before you become one of those on the streets in your twilight years. If you are poor, too bad, you’ re stuck here.

Repost: Characteristics and behaviour of our 1.8 million foreign population

12975_529806193709181_1137873650_nWritten by Gilbert Goh, but he apologized and have since retracted this article. Let me just repost this under my name and I will not apologize – Co-editor of Wikitemasek, Alex Tan

 

As our government continues to bring in 20,000 new citizens each year through the various easily-acquired work permits, Singaporeans continue to suffer in silence as there is nothing much that they can do except to wait for the balloting box every five years.

Many local Singaporeans also look at migration to other countries as the easiest way out and some parents even encourage their children to study and work abroad knowing that it is very difficult now with cheap foreigners competing against Singaporeans for work opportunities.

Starting salaries have gone down by at least 20% since last year and though we don’t have relevant official manpower statistics to support this, anecdoctal evidences from our pool of jobless PMETs have confirmed this fact.

Many jobless young PMETs have indicated that their pay was reduced by at least 20% from their previous salary range and more seriously, they remain the minority worker in their companies and are dominated by foreign workers in the ir work places.

Some have also told me that they are hired because one of the foreign worker’s work permit is not being renewed by MOM or they were hired to make up for the foreign-local worker quota.

Employers continue to hire foreign workers as they are cheaper, younger and educated. Many are hired using the S-Pass category with a pay scale of $2000 and 2-year contract.

More than 1.8 million foreigners lived among a population of 5.18 million and their presence is overwhelming. Half a million of them has attained permanent residencies and they carry the strongest chance of converting into citizens.

Transitioning will attempt to draw up a profile of each foreign nationality and wants to reiterate that we are not anti-foreigner here:-

1. PRC Chinese

Population: 800, 000

Personality: Business-minded, hard working but can be a show-off for those who are rich

Favourite hangout: Chinatown (they also took over a bulk of the businesses there)

Popular jobs: F & B, own businesses, entertainment, construction

Pay range: Depend on kind of jobs acquired but between $1500 to $2500 usually.

Niche skills: Business

Bad habit: Likes to talk aloud in public places oblivious to local environment. Seen as brash and rude. Women also portrayed as husband snatchers as many divorces occurred because our local men got involved with Chinese women here. They remain the number one public enemy of our local population now due to a spate of badly-publicised stunts.

Favourite past time: Working, shopping and eating

Social integration: Average as tend to talk only in mainland Mandarin and can’t communicate well in English with locals. Needs to brush up English so that they can integrate well with locals. Many young Chinese are also scholars picked from poor villages in China to study here with allowances.

Citizenship: Some PRC Chinese won’t mind becoming citizens if they have good jobs here but the abundance of opportunities in China now may lure some to return home. Many PRC Chinese like our hassle-free travelling benefit associated with our passport and many have use us as a stepping stone to apply for PRs in Australia, New Zealand and United States. However, many of them don’t like our humid weather here and lamented at our limited space.

Latest bugbear: A rich Chinese PR crashed his Ferrrari into a taxi killing himself, the taxi driver and a passenger at Rochor Road. Numerous other recent clashes with locals suggested that PRC Chinese immigrants may have difficulty assimiliating with Singaporeans whom they secretly look down upon. The PRC Chinese are also the ones who demonstrated at MOM twice last year against local employers for errant salary payment and may be troublesome on law and order issues.

 

2. Indians

Population: 400, 000

Personality: Polite and well mannered

Favourite hangout: Little India

Popular jobs: IT, management, construction, shipping

Pay range: If working in IT banking jobs pay can be between $3000 – $5000 depending on work experience

Niche skills: IT programming and software – tens of thousands of Indians work in the lucrative IT sector

Bad habit: Tend to group among themselves even in the workplaces and oblivious to local environment

Favourite past time: Working, eating, going to parks

Social integration: Don’t seem to integrate well with locals as they all group together among themselves even though many speak good English with an Indian slang. They also don’t mix well with our local Indians here and may even be viewed with envy as most of them are well educated and have good jobs.

Citizenship: Many Indians won’t mind becoming citizens here especially if they have a good job and house. However, if we bring in too many Indian citizens, it will change the multi-racial demographics alot especially when our Malay counterparts feel sidelined at the employment front.

Latest bugbear: Nil so far and remain the model immigrant with few social problem from this nationality.

 

3. Filipinos

Population: 200, 000 (80, 000 domestic helpers)

Personality: Friendly and polite

Favourite hangout: Orchard Road and Lucky Plaza remains the Filipino favourite shopping mall for the past two decades

Popular jobs: F & B, healthcare, entertainment, administration, executive

Pay range: Between $1500 – $2000 depending on work scope and experience

Niche skills: Service industry as tens of thosuands of them work in the two integrated resorts and many hotels here. Speak the best tagalog-accented English here among all the nationalities and highly sought after by tele-marketeering companies.

Bad habit: Tends to group among themselves alot forming cliques in the work places. Likes to bring in their own kind to the office as replacement. Speaks tagalog loudly in public places oblivious to public environment.

Favourite part time: Shopping, singing, going to parks

Social integration: Don’t really see them integrating much with locals even in the work places. Use alot of tagalog among themselves to ostracise locals at work. Seen as political and manipulative. They are also the most united among the many nationalities that congregate in Singapore and tend to take care of each other well.

Citizenship: Some Filipinos won’t mind becoming citizens but many are still fiercely patriotic and will return home after making enough money here. They also prefer to emigrate permanently to US, Australia and New Zealand.

Latest bugbear: Though they do not misbehave as publicly as the PRC Chinese, Singaporeans do not really take to them well as they tend to group among themselves and live in their own world. At the work places, they are not the best of workers to work with and tend to take care of their own kind only.

 

4. Myarmese

Population: 50, 000

Personality: Friendly and well mannered

Favourite hangout: Mostly town area

Popular jobs: Executive in most sectors

Pay range: $1500 to $2500 depending on work experience

Niche skills: Organised, listen to instructions

Bad habit: None so far

Favourite past time: Shopping, eating, upgrading one’s skills

Social integration: Like many other nationalities, they don’t integrate well with our locals though they speak decent English as many are educated here. However, employers have so far sang praises of their work ethics and this nationality remains their top choice for foreign hiring.

Citizenship: Many Myarmese won’t mind converting into citizens as their country is still backward and lacking in opportunities.

Latest bugbear: None so far

 

5. Vietnamese

Population: 30, 000

Personality: Friendly and sociable

Favourite hangout: Joo Chiat

Popular jobs: Entertainment, F & B, office administration

Pay range: $1000 – $2000 depending on work experience

Niche skills: entertainment-related

Bad habit: None so far but some are seen as husband snatchers as many divorces happened because of affairs with petite soft-spoken Vietnamese women. Their publicised foray into vices at Joo Chiat also tarnished their image here.

Favourite past time: Drinking, eating, socialising

Social integration: As many Vietnamese do not speak English well they have difficulty integrating into our society. Tend to group among themselves for security and comfort.

Citizenship: Many Vietnamese won’t mind becoming citizens here due to our infrastructure and abundant opportunities compared to their own country. Vietnamese women also like our local men but the langauge barrier is a challenge.

Latest bugbear: None so far.

 

6. Caucusians

Population: 100, 000 (from all over)

Personality: Friendly, pleasant

Favourite hangout: Clarke Quay

Popular Jobs: Senior managerial positions, consultant, banking executives

Pay range: $5000 – $20, 000 depending on work experience

Niche skills: Consulting, communication, leadership

Bad habit: Tend to be seen as aloof and detached. May look down on the local people here due to their enhanced job scope and pay scale. Men may also flirt around with our local gals with some boasting that they could freely get into bed with them.

Favourite past time: Fine dining, sports, travelling, arts and music

Social integration: Men tend to mix better with our local women who flock to them. Other than that, there is little integration seen with the general population as many stay in expensive exclusive condos. Children also study in expensive international schools further alienating them from the mainstream.

Citizenship: Not many ang moh will want to become citizens as many just want to work and have fun here. They also dislike our country’s strict laws and gum-free society. Probably less than 1% of them will want to become citizens here but they remain our local gals’ perfect dream for a potential husband.

Latest bugbear: None so far though their exclusive lifestyle may draw envy from the local population. With a local colonist white supremacy mindset, many whites are well respected here though their brash mannerism – especially when they are drinking – may draw some criticism from the locals. They also need to be more careful when befriending our local gals in the pubs as there are many fights occurring because of this.

 

7. Indonesians

Population: 10, 000

Personality: Warm and friendly

Favourite hangout: Orchard Road

Popular jobs: Office, business-related

Pay range: $1500 – $2500 depending on experience but many go into businesses

Niche skills: Business development especially for the Indonesian Chinese

Bad habit: Tend to spend as if there is no tomorrow

Favourite past time: Shopping and spending money

Social integration: Though they can speak dialects for the Indonesian Chinese, many do not seem to intergrate well with our locals. They are also scattered all over the island with little concentration but many rich Indonesians have bought expensive private housing for investment.

Citizenship: Many Indonesians will want to be citizens here due to our safe environment. Probably more than 50% of Indonesian PRs will want to become citizens here.

Latest bugbear: None so far but wealthy Indonesians tend to use our country for money laundering due to the lax banking secrecy act here. Singapore remains their first choice of destination for emigration due to our safe environment and many Indonesians will want to be citizens here.

 

8. Malaysians

Population: 500, 000

Personality: Hard working and business minded

Favourite hangout: All over

Popular jobs: Executive, managerial, logistics, businesses. Many Malaysians have became successful corporate CEOs such as the infamous ex-SMRT CEO Ms Saw and Hyflux CEO. Dr Goh Keng Swee – our ex-defence minister and DPM is also from Malaysia and so is Housing Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

Pay range: $2000 – $5000 depending on work experience

Niche skills: Many Malaysians study in Singapore when they are young and move up the educational path together with local Singaporeans. I have heard of many Malaysians heading big corporations and seen to be doing very well. Many may now have migrated to Australia or the US during this period of mass foreign influx.

Bad habit: None so far

Favourite past time: Working and accumulating wealth

Social integration: By far the most integrated lot of the foreigners working here due to the close proximity with our country. Long accepted as one of our own and mostly welcomed to become citizens. In fact, our government should focus on this group and try to convert as many Malaysians to become citizens as possible as they are well accepted and has integrated into our society for a long time. Many Malaysians have also married our locals and their children have become citizens serving national service.

Citizenship: Many Malaysians have became citizens probably numbering well over 100, 000 throughout the past decade and lived among us like local Singaporeans due to similar culture and tradition. However, there is still a sizeable group of Malaysian PRs who do not want to convert into citizens for personal reasons.

Latest bugbear: None so far.

16 Feb protest and LKY’s hospitalization: the end of PAP?

A record 3000 protestors turned up at Hong Lim Park today to protest against the PAP’s endorsement of the population White Paper. 77 PAP MPs have voted in favor of the White Paper to bring Singapore’s population to 6 million and beyond. The motion was passed in a landslide decision where only 13 MPs consisting of Opposition MPs, NCMPs and NMPs objected. As Singapore’s infrastructures continue to falter under the current 5.3 million people, more Singaporeans are stepping up and voicing their dissatisfaction with the proposed 6 million plan. The protest today marked one of the biggest turnout in Singapore since Independence, with many Singaporeans holding placards condemning the authoritarian PAP government’s decision to proceed ahead of the White Paper.

Through the PAP-controlled mainstream media, the PAP government has earlier claimed that the White Paper was proposed after a series of public feedback sessions called the National Conversation, it must have been baffling of them to see backlash of such scale. Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong has also claimed that the way how his government presented the White Paper was wrong and an editorial article by the Straits Times even gone to the extent saying that the only reason why “some” Singaporeans have raised objections is because they lack the understanding and sophastication behind the White Paper. Several government-affiliated business organizations like the Singapore National Employer Federation(SNEF), Association of Small and Medium Enterprises(ASMEs) and the Restaurant Association of Singapore(RAS) have raised support for the White Paper saying that their businesses have suffered tremendously ever since the Ministry of Manpower tightened the foreign worker quota. The RAS even gone to the extent of threatening that food prices will increase due to a lack of manpower. Companies in Singapore have profited greatly from the influx of cheap foreign labor, the country was able to chart record GDP growth as a result from the savings made in salaries. Singaporean employees were marginalized and have their salaries depressed as a result of the loose labor market.

On the day before the protest, former Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital for a sudden cardiovascular attack that briefly stopped blood to the brain. While it is unverified if Lee Kuan Yew had a stroke, it appears that the 89 year old couldn’t carry out his duties anymore as a Member of Parliament. Lee doesn’t attend Meet-the-People sessions anymore and he is hardly heard in the Parliament over the past 2 years. It is unlikely Lee will be able to stand for the 2016 General Elections, that is of course provided he leave past many expectations that he will be dead before then. Lee’s constituency, Tanjong Pagar GRC, has remained uncontested ever since the undemocratic GRC system was introduced to help the PAP win more seats in Parliament.

Moving forward after the 2 events today, it appears that the PAP government has finally lost its mandate over the people and a change of government for Singapore is very likely to happen within the next few elections. If the Workers’ Party could field the same 22 candidates it did during GE2011, they could easily take out 4 GRCs or 4 Ministerial seats. The loss of 4 Ministerial seats can easily capulate PAP into a crisis and they may be forced to form a coalition government with the Workers’ Party. However, how would future events turn out is still dependent on PAP’s current actions. If they continue to refuse to reduce the population figure, it will not be a surprise that the PAP become an Opposition party themselves then.

 

Why is Singapore not livable

IMG_0002IMG_0001My father came home last night and asked me about a letter from CPF notifying about some Medishield changes. Although he is English educated, he doesn’t understand what a “deductible” is or the difference between Medisave and Medishield. Many Singaporeans like him who are too busy to be reading the news often left themselves out of such new “kangtaos” by the PAP government. Nonetheless I went on to explain what the letter is all about, as neutral as I could…because I could expect he wouldn’t like what he’s hearing as he is a hardcore Workers’ Party supporter.
There are only 2 key changes which we need to focus on:

1) Medishield deductibles is going to increase from $1000 to $1500, and $1500 to $2000 respectively for Class C and Class B wards. For those who doesn’t know what is a deductible, you could look at the diagram on the right. A patient has to pay the deductible and 10% of the remaining of bill with the remaining 90% covered for by the Medishield. The Medishield is a nationalized co-insurance scheme that is paid for using Medisave funds.

MSH-diagram

Effectively, those staying in Class C wards, or simply put in, the poor, are going to pay 50% or $500 more each time they are warded into hospitals. I don’t know why this is under the “Major Enhancement” category in the letter when you get to pay more instead.

2) Medishield premium is going to increase by $102.50 effective from March 2013, but the government is going to give you a One-off Medisave Top-up to help off-set the premium increase of $300. The maths is not right yes. The top-up can hardly cover for 3 years of the premium increase, and this is as good as raising the premium in 3 years’ time.

This implementation brought up a few questions left unanswered by the PAP government:

Why  aren’t those warded in the class A and B get to pay more? Why are we subsidizing the rich and taxing those who need more help?

Where is the justification for the premium increase? Where is the annual report? How do we know if the Medishield is making losses(if any) and how do we know if the PAP government is not profiting from the Medishield unethically if no audit report is declared publicly?

And why are the CPF account holders not informed of such changes? Who are the decision makers and who drafted these policies?

There are too many questions surrounding the CPF which makes it look like a ponzi scheme to many. If Christopher Balding’s figures are right [Source], the CPF could be bankrupt and people may not know what hit them. The slew of CPF changes introduced especially in the past decade under Lee Hsien Loong’s watch is very worrying. Minimum Sum has been raised every year and Withdrawal Age has also been increased significantly from 55 to 67. These are signs that the CPF is facing a cash flow problem and may not be able to cater for the retirement for baby boomers like my father’s generation. I’m not at all surprised why we are seeing more elderly touting or literally begging and eating leftovers in our hawker centres.

The CPF changes above is one of the many little twitches the PAP made to squeeze a little more out of here and there. The real reason why Singapore is no longer livable is because the present PAP Ministers simply have no heart for Singaporeans who slogged their life out for this country. Gone are the days of a nanny state where people could have blind faith in the PAP government to act for their best interests. We just have to look objectively at what the PAP do and not what they say. The standard of living for their Ministers and MPs have increased significantly over the past few years, along with the rich foreigners and employers. Middle and low income earners like me sees a harsher life, always tightening our wallets wherever we go. Social mobility has reach a standstill in Singapore, it is hard to even maintain a decent standard of living seen in the 1990s today if you are just an employee…and I do not want to go even further how my family could even live decently on a driver’s income back in the 1980s.

The bosses squeeze you dry and are always happy to hire a foreigner in your place. Employers are telling everyone they are expanding their business but they have no budget to pay for higher salaries. The culture of poor human resource has led to fatigue, poor purchasing power and naturally a loss of work-life balance. I do not want to spend my life working hard for my bosses to get rich while myself having to struggle paycheck to paycheck. The working conditions in overseas are very attractive relative to Singapore, because a 9-to-6, 5-day work week is simply not possible here in Singapore. I have lost counts of the amount of overtime I worked without overtime pay. I don’t see so many of the elderly in other countries struggling to etch a living on the streets, but in Singapore, it is very common to see elderly in their 60s and 70s working menial low paying jobs. What has Singapore got to offer? The country couldn’t even take care of me while I risk a limb serving National Service. Emigration no longer seems like an option if I do not want to wipe tables in my twilight years.

The PAP government’s policies are so easily deciphered from a common man-in-the-street like me, and all these just makes me sick to my stomach. They never fail to come out with fancy explanations to their incompetency after any fiasco. The worst case scenario of an inefficient and incompetent government in power and looking to stay in power had happened. What an irony for Lee Kuan Yew that such incompetence he warned many years ago actually turns out to be one from his own.

Alex Tan, co-editor of Wikitemasek

Singapore businesses addicted to cheap foreign labor

Foreign workers breakdown

Foreign workers breakdown

The latest government-linked business organization to join the call to ease foreign labor is the Restaurant Association of Singapore(RAS).  RAS have called for the government to review the curbs on foreign workers and threatened that “Singapore may also lose its reputation as a global city with a vibrant food and beverage (F&B) sector”. The Ministry of Manpower tightened the foreign worker quota and raised the foreign worker levy in a bid to increase salaries and employment for Singaporean low income workers. While the latest policy have its limited impact to improving the life of the low income workers, the reversing of such policy to the days where cheap foreign labor were easily hired will only spell doom for low income Singaporeans.

RAS have also threatened higher food prices and a drop in quality due to the lack of manpower. They also fully support the White Paper which has recently been passed in a landslide vote of 77 to 13. Their reasoning goes that a larger population can have a positive impact on the economy and the government which derives its revenue primarily from various forms of taxation, such as Consumption Tax, Income Tax, and Property Tax. Joining the call to easing foreign labor access are the Singapore National Employer Federation(SNEF) and Association of Small and Medium Enterprises(ASMEs). Business associations have been pressured by their employer members to urge the PAP government to allow more cheap foreign labor for them to be exploited. The adverse effects of an influx of foreigners were seen during the period of 2006 and 2011, where salaries across the middle and low income earners were stagnated and more Singaporeans were displaced out by their cheaper foreign counterpart. Productivity has also taken a dive with the influx of cheap foreign labor.

What Singapore is in need today is not a larger population, even though domestic demand will be strengthened and Singapore will be less susceptible to the global market fluctuations. Singapore needs more productive people to bring value to Singaporeans and chart a healthy GDP that is not inflated by property sales. It is no surprise businesses have an insatiable appetite for cheap foreign labor, especially when strikes are illegal and unions are non-existent. The PAP government have a responsibility not only towards the businesses, but also towards the people who are largely employees.

RAS, SNEF and ASMEs could only see from the profitable point of view, but they are no business leaders the likes of MNCs which see employees as the most precious resources in a company. Human resource practices in Singapore leave much to be desired, especially for many Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) bending MOM’s regulations by practicing salary-payback and under-declaring overtime work. S-Pass holders in Singapore are mandated by law to be paid at least $2000 a month, but many SMEs especially in the service and FnB industries make their S-pass workers pay back up to $500 or threaten that the workers be sent back to their country if they don’t comply. The MOM have no solutions to such underhanded tactics and the common Singaporean loses his allure as a quality worker simply because his salary is too high. A typical construction worker from China and Bangladesh on a work permit earns about $800 a month.

The more competent businesses are charting record profits every year and the mediocre ones are merely surviving from the savings they made from the cheap foreign labor. If the PAP government refuse to tighten the foreign worker quota further, more Singaporeans will be jobless and salaries will depress further. The loss of income will directly affect family planning and birth rate, which is already at its record low since Independence. Not only are the private sector companies addicted to cheap foreign labor, government-linked companies like SMRT and SBS also maximizes their foreign worker quota in a bid to save on manpower costs.

While manpower costs may be a factor, it is baffling why aren’t the government-linked business associations calling for a reduction in transport costs and rental. Property and transport prices remain the bugbears to both small and big businesses. Such business associations remain far from independence given their relations with the government.